Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Beer in Space: The Conspiracy Theory

Is that what you think it is?  Nope it's an outer space fermentation chamber.
After the initial amusement of reading the article about dudes putting Natty Light into space, my cynical side started poking through. My first burning question would be the validity of the statement “First Beer in Space”. Surely there have been other beers in space. As mentioned in my initial post I did a quick search and found some interesting stuff. Here goes.

The Facts:

Q: Is Natty Light the first beer in space?
A: No. An experiment conducted aboard a space shuttle actually fermented a beer in space.

Q: How high does an object have to travel before it reaches space?
A: Although there is no set definition for where Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins, the commonly excepted limit is an elevation of 327,920ft equal to 62 miles. This is referred to as the Kármán Line.

Q: How high is weather balloon capable of traveling into the atmosphere?
A: According to the National Weather Service, a six foot wide helium filled weather balloon can reach an altitude of about 115,000ft.

Q: Can a weather balloon care a Natty Light can or any other object into “space”?
A: No based on the maximum altitude of 115,000ft.

Q: Was this a corporate gimmick with a factually incorrect title?
A: The magic eight ball and Jim say all signs point to yes

The Details:

The Real First Beer in Space was Coors! (Kind of)

Kirsten Sterrett returned to Colorado University to complete her master’s degree. The topic for her thesis involved fermentation and carbonation behavior in weightlessness. Her experiment was sponsored by Coors and was conducted on a NASA space shuttle mission. In the mission, a beer was fermented in the weightlessness of space. There is no indication of what style of beer, or the recipe composition used to make the space beer. Hopefully it was not a light lager! The fermentation processed turned out to be more efficient in space than it is on Earth. With a more efficient fermentation, the space beer had more alcohol content (higher ABV woo hoo) than the same beer brewed on earth.

Resource:
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast21sep_1/

All About Weather Balloons!

According to data available July, 13, 2006 weather balloons are released twice a day from a network of nearly 900 stations worldwide. They can achieve altitudes of 115,000ft and travel more than 125 miles from their release points. After the balloons pop a parachute lowers the balloon and attached instrumentation back to Earth. If you find an instrument package, known as a radiosonde, mail it back to the National Weather Service. Estimates show about 20% of the 75,000 radiosondes released per year are returned.

Resource:
http://www.usatoday.com/weather/resources/askjack/wameasur.htm

Space beer (Earth fermented) exists!

Two Australian companies, Saber Astronautics Australia and Four Pines Brewing Company, developed a beer designed specifically for consumption in space. Future space travelers have to worry about drinking carbonated drinks in fear of experiencing the dreaded wet burp. Liquid and CO2 do not separate in the stomach in a zero gravity environment. So when you burp, it’s not only CO2 coming out. Other than the dreaded wet burp, there are also taste problems associated with weightlessness. In the zero gravity the tongue swells and the senses dull over time. What style of beer could stand up to reduced sense of taste? A stout of course! The carbonation was reduced to aid the wet burp problem. The beer has been tested on a simulated zero gravity flight and got the thumbs up. The brew is called Vostok 4 Pines Stout and is available at $20.00 a sixer.

Resource:
http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/special-features/vostok-beer-is-a-sturdy-stout-you-can-swig-in-space/story-e6frg1ac-1226013961545

Job Opening: Captain of the Enterprise

Do you want fly in space and drink beer? It will only cost you $95,000 for a ticket. You think a mortgage company will go for that?

http://www.beerinspace.com/

I promise never to discuss Natty Light again, sorry for the detour into big beer corporate asshatland.

The First Beer in Space: The Empire Strikes Back

I'm not trying to piggy back off of anyone elses blog but over at the Beer and Whiskey Bros there has been some funny crap involving the Natty in Space event.  Apparently (as most probably figured) the Natty in Space thing was a corporate gimmick.  One of the dingles in charge of the marketing project attempted to infilitrate the comments section of the Beer and Whiskey Bros under a false identity.  He was defending the authenticity of the "fans" that completed the beer in space bit and that Jim was out of line by assuming the stunt as being a corporate hoax.  Well they sparred for 5 rounds in the comments section and Jim unmasked the dingles' real identity as being part of a marketing team associated with AB.  I got a chuckle out of it and it confirms my feelings regarding how AB (and the other beer behemoths for that matter) conduct their business.  Jim summed up the comments between him and dingle in a new post.  Check it out, it's pretty funny.

Beer and Whiskey Bros:  Comment Fight (How not to defend your beer PR stunt)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sam Adams Tasman Red IPA

6.75% ABV

The first Sam Adams small batch was a homerun.  Can Sammy keep up the momentum and beat the phenomenal brew inappropriately named “Double IPA”?  Next up is the Tasman Red.  According to the label it features Topaz and Galaxy hops from Tasmania.  If that doesn’t peak your curiosity I don’t know what will.

The Tasman Red pours with a huge fluffy head and lives up to it’s namesake with a nice dark red complexion.  The nose is spicy earth with some citrus notes.  The brew starts with decent hop bitterness and then…and then…and then.  That’s about it with this one.  The malt is a side note and doesn’t stand out at all.  The bitterness is mellow but does have some interesting earthy cinnamon character.  Normally I praise balance in beer but this one is almost balanced to the point of non-existence.  The hop character is notable but overall this brew is rather uneventful, especially for a limited release. 





Cheers!

First Beer in Space!

Beam me up Natty! 


That's right Natty Light is the first beer in space.  A father and son team built a space ship out of a styrofoam cooler and attached it to a weather balloon.  Included in the package was a GPS tracking device, an HD video camera, an empty can on the outside, and full can of Natty Light on the inside.  There are videos on YouTube of the adventure.  Who says drunks aren't an industrious people?

This was adapted from a post on The Daily Meal.

Wait a second.  Could this be true?  Has there been no other beers in space?  With a quick web search I came up with some interesting info regarding beer in space.  Stay tuned we'll get to the bottom of this mystery and further our beer Yoda geekdom!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sam Adams Hangin' With the Kids

Sam Adams Third Voyage Double IPA (kind of)


8.0% ABV

Sam Adams is making their way into limited release bombers.  Should I be disappointed or rejoice in the potentially wonderful nectar of the beer gods?  One of the best parts of Sam Adams brew is the wide availability.  No harassing the local beer store months in advance and no pepper spraying people to get your hands on it.  Old Sam Adams is jumping in with the young kids and limiting some of their line-up.  With that being said I did manage to land all of the single batch brews without special reservations.  Will the brew live up to the “hype”?  Lets find out.

First in line is the Third Voyage Double IPA.  The brew pours with a huge fluffy three fingered head.  The nose displays delicate hop aroma with some earth, spice, and dull fruit being the main characters.  Exact tasting note, “WOW different”.  I don’t’ know if I am so surprised because this is supposed to be a Double IPA but this beer is wonderfully unique.  The malt complexity is surprising and phenomenal.  Wait…Double IPA right?  The malt starts with light brown sugar and blends into traces of honey.  From there the brew dives into deep caramel notes finishing with delicate hop character.  The bitterness is very subtle, coating the mouth evenly and lingering after the finish.  The hop character is a very smooth earth character with mint character developing after the brew is swallowed.  The funny thing with the bitterness is that it doesn’t really register until after you swallow.  Good malt, swallow, wait is that bitterness?  Awesome!

Lets visit the initial assumption that this is supposed to be a Double IPA because this is not what I think is representative of this style.  I think it could almost be classified as a barley wine but thinner.  Thinner than barley wine and not as hoppy as a double ipa, where does that leave us?  Overall the balance of this brew is phenomenal but in my opinion the real star of this brew is the initial malt complexity.  The subtle hop character and delicate bitterness is a bonus.  I think a lot of people will be disappointed with this because this brew doesn’t have the huge hop presence typical in most commercial double IPAs.  However if you approach this brew with an open mind and without any expectations of the double IPA style, this brew is a work of beer brewing art!    

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

6.8% ABV

In my undying internet “research” the name Celebration Ale has came up a lot recently.  I even saw on one forum that posed the question “What is your favorite Sam Adams beer?” where someone answered Celebration Ale.  When someone called them out that this was clearly not a Sam Adams brew they admitted their mistake and claimed they were so excited it was a Freudian slip so to speak.  With that sort of excitement I’m sold on trying this one.  This offering should be easy to find and it’s even available at Tipsy’s build your own six pack.

What is Celebration Ale?  I envision an almost barley wine-esque brew with some holiday spice mixed in.  The package tells me differently describing the brew as being a fresh hop ale with the label mentioning this being an IPA.  This is not what I think of as being a Christmas/Winter seasonal but the hop harvest season dictates when the freshest hops are available.  Hops are generally harvested in the Fall, so now is the time to get the freshest hops available.  Unless of course you grow them at home and are a better gardener than the FatCat.

The Celebration Ale pours with a big fluffy pillow of off-white head.  The nose has lots of fruit, citrus, and sweet grapefruit.  The brew begins with some very brief malt sweetness.  There is not much in the way of malt complexity, just some brief sweetness at the beginning.  Scratch the barley wine idea.  What comes next?  Big astringent hop character punches you in the mouth and seems to last forever.  The hop character is dominated mostly by grapefruit and finishes with hints of grass.  This brew has a very drying character which makes it seem much bigger than a regular IPA.  Celebration Ale is definitely not a barleywine and seems more bitter than a regular IPA.  The astringency of the bitterness is very prominent and overwhelms the palate. 

This brew was clearly not what I expected and I can’t say that I share other people’s enthusiasm for it.  On the other hand if you like hop bombs this may be your cup of tea.





Cheers!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Update!

There's has been some new additions to the area lately so keep your eyes peeled.

Sam Adams Single Batch Bombers - Coming in Chocolate Chili Bock, Oaked Blonde Barleywine, Red IPA, and a Double IPA.  These are very affordable for a "limited" release at $5.00 to $6.00 per bottle.

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA - The Reserve Series has been the only offerings available to us until now!  Now there are $10.00 six packs of Union Jack!  This is highly touted on the internet so expectations are high.  Hopefully we will be getting Velvet Merlin as well.  Fingers crossed.

Odell Mountain Standard Reserve Double Black IPA - This was involved in our Black IPA throwdown but stood alone due to it's "Double" quality.  It was more like a hoppy imperial stout than a black IPA.  I was intrigued by it but at that time was only available in 750ml bottles.  Now it has been released in 12oz 4-packs. 

Nebraska Brewing Co. - I've seen Black Betty and Hop God around town but at $20.00 a 750ml.  I'm a little wallet shy.  These brews are highly touted and have won awards but $20.00?  Ouch.

Bells Expedition Stout - One of America's first versions of a Russian Imperial Stout.  I tried one the other day and it was very bitter.  They seem a little young and will most likely improve with age.  If you've scored some of these stow them away for a while and they should improve.

Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FatCat's Turkey Day Rundown!

The dinner plans are set and the family is prepped for culinary battle.  Now for the drink plans!  Thanksgiving makes for a perfect time to share some malty goodness with your friends and family.  Whether your intended drinking buddies are seasoned craft brew pros or rookies, there is something out there for everyone.

Estrella Damm Inedit - For beginners and fancy pants


This will make a great brew to introduce to craft brew rookies or for those families who may not view craft brew as "classy".  The elegance of the bottle design should get you past the initial "not classy" stigma and get some beer in peoples glasses.  The Estrella Damm Inedit is not only a pretty package, it is a stellar tasting craft brew.  It is light enough for the palates of the non-initiated but complex enough to be intriguing for anyone.  This will make a great accompaniment to your holiday dinner. 





Bell's Third Coast Old Ale - Big Sweet and Complex

This brew would be great as a either a pre-dinner appetizer or post dinner dessert.  The complexity of the malt character is phenomenal and is practically a dish on its own.  Awesome!



Firestone Walker Double Jack - If hops are more your speed

This Imperial IPA is not just bitterness it is wonderful hop character.  The deep grapefruit notes are complemented beautifully by the malt character.  This brew would make a great pre-dinner treat or as a sidekick to the turkey.



Avery The Czar - Wrap Up the Festivities With This Beauty

The Czar is a big bad imperial stout ready to be your grand finale of Thanksgiving.  The big roast and complex maltiness is an absolute treat. 

May you all have a happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 FatCat Oktoberfest Shootout Results!



October has come and gone but FatCat is hanging on to it with an Oktoberfest Shootout!  I gathered up as many Oktoberfests as my pocket book could handle.  Several of my choices were dictated by whether or not they were available in a build your own six pack.  We ended up with 10 brews.   I did manage to forget the Sam Adams and Ayinger in my fridge so we should have had 12.  OOOPS.  Going into this shootout my personal favorite was Paulaner followed very closely by the semi-local Free State.  Can America’s craft brewers keep pace with the age old brewing prowess of the Germans?  I gathered 4 familiar faces as well as a craft brew rookie to sort it out.  As with all other shootouts this is a blind tasting meaning we had no idea what beer we were tasting.  We ranked them with a score of 1-5 (5 being the best) based on whether we liked one beers taste better than the others.  None of us are, or claim to be beer judges of any kind but we do drink a lot of different beers.  With that being said this was a ton of fun and if you don’t agree with us you should have your own shootout.  It’s awesome!


The winners are:

1t.  Summit                                  24.0pts
1t.  Free State                               24.0pts
2t.  Paulaner                                 21.0pts
2t.  Magic Hat Ourtoberfest         21.0pts
5.  Schlafly                                   19.5pts 
6.  Leinenkugel                            19.0pts
7.  Bobs 47                                   18.0pts
8.  Spaten                                     17.5pts
9.  Weihenstephaner                    15.5pts
10.  FatCat                                    14.0pts

FatCat's Favorites:
Free State    5.0pts
Summit       4.5pts
Magic Hat   4.0pts

Super Spiker Andrew's Favorites:
Spaten         5.0pts
Paulaner      5.0pts
Freestate     4.0pts

Greg's Favorites:
Freestate       5.0pts
Summit         4.5pts
Leinenkugel  4.0 pts

Big Ed's Favorites:
Summit       4.5pts
Schlafly      3.5pts

Super Dave's Favorites:
Freestate     5.0pts
Bobs 47      4.5pts
Summit      4.0pts

Honey Lager Jimmy's Favorites: 
Magic Hat  5.0pts
Paulaner     4.0pts
Summit      4.0pts

Conclusion:

The Aftermath!
Well we were all over the board on this one.  The German varieties seemed to be much lighter in color with slightly more bitterness than the American versions.  The American versions tended to be sweeter with more hop character.  The Summit Oktoberfest proved to be exceptional as is the case with most of their offerings.  This was the 10th beer we tasted and it was getting dark.  What does that mean?  We were outdoors and I had to forgo detailed notes in the name of ranking beers in a timely fashion.  Unfortunately, the only notes I took were “good malt”.  Sorry guys.  Summit has been a solid addition to our local beer market so embrace our blessing and grab a Summit next time your at the store. 

One of my favorites held up for me and that is the Free State Octoberfest.  The Free State is a superb brew that puts a slight variation in the typical Oktoberfest style with some grainy chewiness in the middle of the palate.  It makes most other Oktoberfests seem thin and watery by comparison.  It also has some hop character at the finish to help even it out. 

The Paulaner was my #1 pick coming into this shootout.  It actually didn’t make it in my top 3 which surprised me.  Of course that’s the magic of a blind tasting, all preferences are left at the door.  The Paulaner sports an absolute silky mouthfeel followed by a stellar malt profile.  It is not near as grainy as the Free State but has solid munich character with plenty of residual sweetness.  The Paulaner finishes with some muted bitterness but was not “skunky” like some of the other German versions.  Tied with the Paulaner was the Magic Hat Ourtoberfest. 

The Ourtoberfest was by far the sweetest brew in this group which made it delicious but also made it seem out of place.  It had a good caramel maltiness followed by what I thought was a hint of cinnamon.  Even though it was sweeter than the others, it did have very good complexity with different levels of sweetness throughout the palate.


Afterthoughts:

What happened to FatCat’s Oktoberfest?  Carbonation, or lack there of is what happened.  My Oktoberfest was not carbonated very well = FatCat fail.  I was very disappointed because I thought my Oktoberfest had a solid malt character that could stand up to the commercial brews.  However, my brew could not get past the initial flat character to get to the malt profile.  FAIL!  Oh well I’ll kick up the carbonation and knock out my Oktoberfest 1 liter mugfulls at a time. 

I drank the Ayinger after the shootout and I think it would have faired very well.  I would put it in my top 3 Oktoberfests easy.

Hope everyone enjoyed the shootout results.


Cheers!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weston's Festival Ale

Weston is one brewery I really really want to love.  It’s a cool local brewer with an even cooler dungeon bar.  Unfortunately, most of my experience with Weston brews is so-so at best.  With my recent discovery of Little Lucy, I have some renewed faith in Weston Brewing Co. so I decided to pick up a sixer of the Festival Ale.  One positive for Weston is the affordability of its offerings.  Festival Ale at $7.00 a six-pack is definitely easy on the wallet, not to mention Brown Ales are quickly becoming one of my favorite beer styles.  Seems like a no brainer. 

Festival Ale pours with a nice creamy one finger head.  The nose is typical brown ale with good malt aroma and slight hints of dull molasses.  The mouthfeel is medium thick bordering on being creamy but not quite.  The taste matches the nose verbatim with good malt character.  The Festival sports the typical brown ale flavor with a fair amount of sweetness and a somewhat acidic finish.  It has notes of light brown sugar with some graininess in the middle.  This is a solid brew but is rather lack luster.  I think this brew would benefit from either increased hop character or increased malt complexity.  It just seems rather one dimensional for me.  The Festival Ale is a good “filler” beer.  A “filler” beer is the less interesting beers I drink in between my bigger more complex beers.  With that being said, this is one of my favorites on the filler list.  If you need something to drink in between your Expedition Stout or Breakfast Stout grab a six of Festival Ale.





Cheers!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

FatCat's 2011 Oktoberfest Shootout!

Better late than never right?  October is long gone but I have a stockpile of Oktoberfests ready for action.  Who will rein supreme?  Stay posted to find out.

The combatants:

Magic Hat Ourtoberfest
Spaten
Schlafly
Freestate
Paulaner
Boulevard Bob's 47
Weihenstephaner
Leinenkugel
FatCat Oktoberfest
Summit

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Southern Tier Krampus

I’ve been setting on this review for quite a while.  Here lately I’ve been accomplishing a lot more beer drinking than beer reviewing.  This brew is one that I really liked so I wanted to post it for you guys.

I found this brew a while back and it seemed a little out of place.  It appeared to be a Christmas/winter beer by the looks of the graphics but it was September at the time.  It's hard to see in the picture but the demon looking thing is holding a club with some Christmas holly on it.  That's Christmasy isn't it?  I thought to myself maybe the breweries graphic artist were a little off kilter and were celebrating Christmas a little early.  The other thing that struck me as odd was the style displayed on the label was Imperial Helles Lager.  This is not really a style that would jump to mind when you think of a Christmas/winter brew.  Undeterred I followed through with the purchase and was rewarded handsomely for my gamble.

The Krampus poured a golden yellow with a substantial head.  The nose is a very inviting aroma of somewhat a somewhat spicy floral character.  The mouthfeel was creamy with lots of carbonation.  The head starts strong and lasts almost indefinitely.  The creamy mouthfeel is a hint to the very smooth munich malt character hiding in this brew.  Complimenting the malt is a nice bitterness that is very even.  By even I mean it coats the palate evenly through the start and into the finish.  The bitterness is very smooth without any notable astringency.  The finish gives way to some floral hop notes and a hint of sour fruit.  I really liked this brew.  It is a well made product and everything is in perfect harmony.  Nothing is overwhelming and all the ingredients play nicely together. 


Now that I’ve confirmed this is an exceptional brew, what’s the deal with the bottle?  Is this a Christmas/winter brew?  Researching their website this is considered their Christmas Seasonal with a November release.  This means I was enjoying a brew from last years holiday season.  An Imperial Helles Lager is not what most people would expect for a Christmas beer.  I personally envision dark beers with chocolate and/or cinnamon added to them for Christmas type beers.  Although this is clearly not a dark spiced brew this is a winner in my book.  This years batch should be hitting the shelves soon, if not already there.  Check it out.





Cheers!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Attention All CEO’s, Directors, and Managers

Do you want optimum performance from your employees? Do you want undying loyalty to the cause? Well look no further; we have uncovered a revolutionary new way to keep your employees at the top of their games. For 132 installment payments of $300.00 we can whip your employees into shape and make them happy at the same time. Is this a secret psychological tactic only known by Shao Lin Monks? No it’s simple, it’s quick, it’s painless (usually),it’s free beer at work! Oh yes my friend we have reached the top of the management mountain and now you can too!


The Plan
This foolproof plan was engineered over at the ad agency Arnold Worlwide. There, a traditional vending machine has been transformed into a beer dispensing at work robot super power, which is referred to affectionately as “Arnie”. The traditional bill and coin receivers have been removed in favor of a touchscreen and radio-frequency reader. This allows fob-carrying employees to be greeted by name.

There is a catch
You can’t feed your employees just any beer, you have to feed them the best. Arnie is stocked up with bottles of beer brewed by the employees. That’s right my friends homebrew (kind of). Inside there are six styles of brew which were brewed by Arnold Worldwide employees at the do-it-yourself microbrewery named Barleycorn’s.

How much should you charge your employees?
Nothing! It’s free! (Although it’s not entirely clear if Arnold Worldwide picks up the tab at the microbrewery to actually make the brew). Each employee is allowed 3 beers a month from Arnie. The beer is theoretically available 24hrs to the employees, but it is not to be consumed until after the work day. Everything is tracked by a Mac minicomputer and amazingly no one has “slipped up” and consumed any of the brews during the work day.

If you would like to be a part of this revolutionary revolution in management call now!

(This is in no way a real advertisement and if you think it is you are a chicken genius)

P.S. if my manager is reading this I’m definitely on lunch break.


Adapted from article at BostonHerald.com to read entire article click here.

Cheers!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Boulevard Mixed Four

I was out and and about this weekend and noticed the Boulevard Mixed Four sampler was out at several area stores.  The cool thing is not only do you get four of the Boulevard Smokestack brews you also get a Boulevard glass!  Now that's a party!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SHHHHH! It's a beer library!

As we're approaching the holiday season everyone begins to scury around for gift ideas.  Although I vote that beer should be a perfectly acceptable gift I appear to be in the minority.  The next best thing is a beer book, right?  I ran across an article in Esquire discussing three books made available this year that would make perfect gifts for the beer geeks in your life.

The Oxford Companion to Beer - 960 page behmoth.

The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. -  by Stone's founders and even has beer incorporated food recipes!

Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah - by Jeremy Cowan who runs Shmaltz Brewing Co. (He'Brew Beer and Coney Island Craft Lager)  with chapter titles like "Pomegranates and Cocksuckers" who wouldn't be a fan?

To see full Esquire article click here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When Zombies attack!

I mentioned a while back I brewed an Imperial Stout that was affectionately named the Zombie Apocalypse.  It's been aging and was finally bottled about a month ago.  I'm a fairly lazy individual so I don't bother to take the labels off of the beer bottles I use for homebrew, I just label the caps.  Of course this could unknowingly lead to a zombie outbreak.

Super Dave was over the other day helping me bottle up some of my homebrew and acting as official inventory reduction officer.  He asked me if it was cool to drink the Free State Octoberfest in the fridge which I said was no problem.  Super Dave popped the cap and took a swig from the bottle.  His face contorted slightly as he ingested the liquid from the bottle which was assumed to be Octoberfest.  "Dude I don't think this is Octoberfest".  What Super Dave didn't know was that he had just been attacked by the Zombie Apocalypse.  So anytime you're at Casa de FatCat always check your caps or you could be the next victim of the Zombie Apocalypse! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sam Adams Harvest Collection

I was out taking a tour of the city’s liquor stores the other day and noticed one store already had the Sam Adams Winter collection out.  That means the Harvest Collections’ days are numbered, so I better hurry up and let you guys know if it’s any good or not.  Here goes nothing.

Irish Red

The brew pours with a persistent off white creamy head giving off aromas of bread and munich malt.  The mouthfeel was a nice creamy mouthfeel but was not too thick for the style.  The flavor starts with malty caramel sweetness and leads into some minor bread character.  The finish is an earthy bitterness which borders on an almost vegetable character in the after taste.  Bitterness is minor but prevents the brew from being too sweet overall.    This is a good all around brew that provides good malt/caramel character and good drinkability.



Bonfire Rauchbier

This is yet another style that Sam Adams is responsible for introducing me to.  Rauchbier is a smoked beer with a malt profile comparable to a Marzen/Oktoberfest.  To accomplish the smoked character some of the malt is beechwood smoked and then added to the mash.  In case you haven’t read this before, this is one of the reasons I love Sam Adams.  They are not content with having a static line-up and instead they’re constantly introducing new styles you usually won’t find from any other breweries.  Oh and then they distribute it nationally. 

With the pleasantries out of the way let’s jump into the rauchbier.  The brew pours with a very faint head that receded almost immediately.  There was a very nice smoky nose that was prominent but not overbearing.  The nose had what seemed to be a slight chocolate aroma although I doubt any chocolate/roast malt was used.  The mouthfeel was fairly thick and seemed to get thicker as you continued drinking.  The taste echoes the nose with an ever present smoke character.  The brew has a good malt character supporting the smoke with dark sugars resembling molasses.  The smoke is the prominent character in the brew but is very well in check so as not to overpower the palate.  The brew is very complex but is very filling.  I wouldn’t want to tackle more than one of these monsters in a sitting.  I don’t really have any other examples to compare this to but I can say that I would recommend any craft beer geeks to give it a try.  This is one of the few times I can say that drinking this brew is definitely an experience. 




Black Lager

The Black Lager poured with an off-white head.  The nose was subdued with only a small amount of roast aroma and not much else.  The mouthfeel was medium thick with a very smooth character.  Although the mouthfeel seems fairly thick, it is definitely not as thick as a stout.   The brew has some good roast character with notes of coffee and bittersweet chocolate.  There is some roast malt bitterness that lingers into the finish.  Hop character and bitterness are non existent.  This is another complex brew that layers malt/roast character beautifully.  The black lager has all the flavor profile of a good stout but has better drinkability with the thinner mouthfeel.  This is a superb brew and I would recommend this to anyone.  Awesome! 
  


Oktoberfest - Is also included and is a good brew.  It's a little thin for my taste but is nonetheless a quality Oktoberfest.  This brew will be in our Oktoberfest Shootout whenever we get around to it.

Harvest Pumpkin Spice - Is good and you can see what I think about that in the Pumpkin Beer Throwdown.

Overall this is a very good sampler with a great variety.  Some may argue that their are better Oktoberfests or Pumpkin beers, of which I actually agree, but the Sam Adams brews are still solid offerings and will not dissappoint you.  Plus you get a stellar black lager and the unique Bonfire Rauchbier.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stout Week Update!!!

I did my part in celebrating Stout Week last night at the Flying Saucer.  Apparently there was a shipping issue with the Bell's brews planned for Friday, so they moved the Big Eddy and Sierra Nevada to Friday night.  Unfortunately I was unaware of this last night and received a perplexed look from the bartender when I asked for the Fritz and Ken's Ale.  I then had to drown my sorrows in the likes of Parabola.  Poor me!  The cool thing was all the special offerings from Monday and Tuesday were still available on tap.  From the looks of the place last night, I bet Parabola survived the night and will still be available today. 

The Big, The Bad, The Parabola

FatCat's thoughts:

Firestone Parabola - My absolute favorite.  Huge bourbon and booze coming out of the nose on this one.  This is definitely not for the faint of heart, if your not a bourbon fan this may not be for you.  This brew was huge everywhere.  Big mouthfeel, big bourbon, big molasses, big sweetness.  I am a fan of big sweet imperials and this one didn't disappoint.  Did I mention the bourbon?  Awesome x2!

Dieu du Ciel Peche Mortel - I'm not a big coffee stout fan but this brew was outstanding.  The coffee/espresso character meshed perfectly with the roasty sweetness of the malt.  Awesome!

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast - Was excited to try this but was too dry for my taste.  I didn't really pick up a lot of coffee character in this one.  The middle of the palate was very roasty bitter and the finish didn't offer any relief from the overly dry character.

New Belgium Clutch - Not good nor bad.  The sourness was somewhat subdued and lingered a bit in the aftertaste.  The roast character was somewhat flat and didn't really stand out either.  I was expecting a little more character out of the sourness or the roasted malt or both.  Admittedly this was the last brew of the night so my palate was probably recovering from the Parabola.


The remaining schedule:

Thursday 11/03:
Founders Night: Breakfast Stout, Canadian Breakfast Stout - There are indications that tickets for CBS will be sold starting at 6pm.

Friday 11/04:
Leinenkugel's Big Eddy, Sierra Nevada Fritz & Ken's Ale

Saturday 11/05:
There is an outside chance at a very laid back Mikkeller Black hole tasting Saturday afternoon, but that is still up in the air.

All beers are draught, and the events will begin at 7pm each night.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tallgrass Velvet Rooster


Tallgrass Brewing Company is releasing craft brew's first canned Belgian Tripel.  The brew will be shipping this week in 4 packs of 16oz cans and in kegs. 

To read the entire article click the link below:

Beernews.org - Tallgrass Velvet Rooster